Missions: The Heart of God, really not so catchy title, so that means if you are reading this article it is either because you have a heart for missions or you are a missionary or you just like me so you read what I write, “Thank you” and there are a few who don’t like me and they read my blogs to try to find something to support their bitterness. None the less you are reading this and for that I thank you.
There is a word that is used quite a bit today as I hear people talking and the word is mandate. I hear it from people of all walks of life, many from the Bible college I graduated from speak of a mandate that has been handed down to them by the founder of the school while others feel they have one of their own.
But what is a Mandate? Well according to the dictionary it is defined this way
- a command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative:
- a command from a superior court or official to a lower one.
It is very often used as in political circles, such as when a particular party wins by a huge margin you will hear somebody say that this party has received a clear “mandate” or a clear message to enact the things that they have pledged to do. So a mandate is seen as important and rightly so, also a mandate is given, as our definition states as “a command from a superior court or official to a lower one” it is an authorization for a superior person or persons that have and can give this authority to another to act for them on their behalf.
Now in order for this mandate to have any bearing on the person or group it is given to it must be recognized as something valuable and the importance of it must be understood otherwise the mandate is just another set of rules handed out to a group that has no understanding of the value of the order and authorization by which it was given and places it in a position of a “good idea that should be done someday by somebody”
You see. I believe that before a person will give prayerful and financial support to something, it has to be seen as important and valuable and relevant for today. And that my friends is why people like me and other missionaries around this world have to constantly write and travel back to our homelands to raise funds in order to maintain the work that has to be done in the places where God has called us to, because many don’t see the value and importance of missions and do not recognize the “Mandate” sent out by the superior court of heaven to go and make disciples. I know some won’t like what I just said, and believe me I am not trying to make anyone angry, in my position I cannot afford to anger people but the truth is sometimes hard to swallow easily.
THE MANDATE OF MISSIONS
If we are believers, then we believe the Word of God, if we believe the Word then we have to believe the mandate. If we think the commands given by God in His Word are optional, then it only stands to reason that we would believe our responsibility to the command is optional as well.
But we can clearly see in His Word, spoken by the head of the Church Himself, Jesus Christ, just a short time after His resurrection and subsequent ascension back to His Father in heaven, He clearly spoke to us His body in the earth in this verse of scripture.
Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV)
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Jesus made the mandate clear and without any question as to what He meant when He said he had received “all authority in heaven and on earth” and then He authorized us to go and teach all nations. And in turn the blessing and presence of Jesus would be with the disciples there and with us now, because the words “to the very end of the age” are used pertaining to us.
So if you find yourself complaining about missions and those missionaries and missions Sundays, be careful because for one, it shows what you are valuing and two you are complaining about the very thing God has approved and even commanded. I mean if it were today and on television then it could go something like this.
The add would come on and Jesus would be in the background in front of a group of people, perhaps holding signs pro Jesus signs and He says “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth and I am authorizing you to go and make disciples in my Name and to teach them to observe and do all the things I have taught you” as the camera zooms in on Jesus, He looks squarely at it and says “I am Jesus Christ and I approve this message”.
What I am saying is that the mandate of Missions is C L E A R and we should be honored to carry that message ourselves and walk in the authority we have been given and to support those who have answered that call.
THE IMMEDIACY OF MISSIONS – Lord here am I send me……but just not immediately….
I live is a very large city and things are always moving, people are in a hurry to get things done and things are never fast enough. Yet at the same time we are surrounded by procrastinators and procrastination. And often we fall into that trap ourselves and put off doing those things that we really need to do in favor of doing those things from which we receive momentary satisfaction or fulfilment from and those things that are of greater lasting value, well they often don’t receive the attrition they deserve.
In all probability if you were to go and ask 10 people during the Christmas rush why they are in such a hurry, the answer would not be that they are trying to rush to their accounts office to and get there Financial Planner in order for an early retirement. And you probably hear any say they are rushing to the dentist’s office to be the first in case there is a long line. No more often than not we avoid and put off till tomorrow, or a better time, or after this or that but then all to soon the things we put off show up at the door much sooner than we planned.
Kind of reminds me of a story I once heard where a man made a deal with death, he said “Death now I will go when you call without a fight, but I want you to do something for me, death replied and said “what is it you request”? Well says the man, before you come for me you have to warn me well in advance. Death smiled and said “Ok you have a deal” So many years passed and the day came when death came to the man’s door and said “Old man, it’s time” NOW wait just a minute, says the old man we had a deal that you would warn me before you came. Death, laughed and said old man, do you see those wrinkles in your face, and the gray in your hair, and do you feel the cold in your bones and that slower pace by which you walk and those eyes are not as clear as they once were” The old man answered and said yes but what does that have to do with our deal, for you to warn me before you come? Death says “Why old man I have been warning you for years”
For missions to become important to us, we must allow the Spirit of God to open our eyes and heart to the immediacy of the need today. We can plainly see in the Bible that Jesus taught us that the time is now and the harvest is waiting to be brought in.
John 4:35 (KJV)
35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
The Jew’s harvest came in around the end of March. Therefore, Jesus must have made these statements around the end of December or the first of January. Jesus was saying the physical harvest very well may be four months away, and not to focus on that but to look at the spiritual harvest that is before them right now. This was when the Samaritans dressed in their everyday robes which was a white linen, were beginning to pour out of the city to come and meet this Man who had told the woman all the things she had ever done. Jesus was saying, “Look at the spiritual harvest that is ready to be picked right now.”
And none of us wherever we live in this world, a small town or large city, none of us can live there very long without realizing that the need is great and that the need is still Right Now. People are lost and without hope and dying, and going to a devils hell without Christ a place that was not meant for them. Just like the old man and death no one knows the day or the hour that they will die and no one knows the day or the hour when Christ will return.
The need is now, and today is the day. Let me just pause here for a moment and say if you are reading this and you have not took the time to accept Christ Jesus as your savior and Lord, do it now, there is no better time. Just look at what God is saying in 2 Corinthians 6:2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
The point that Paul was making in this verse is that God’s grace is in vain if people refuse the acceptable time, the day of their salvation. What Paul is saying is so powerful, People cannot just come to the Lord whenever they get ready. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). There is an acceptable time of salvation, and people need to respond when the Spirit of the Lord deals with them. You cannot just count on a more convenient time, on your own terms. (Acts 24:25).
I am telling you now is the time of God’s favor and grace, now is the right time, and now is the day of salvation. The NEED is now, the TIME is now, and He is calling all of us to do something NOW.
Now we are going to talk a little about a word that is not so popular among us but it is a common word for many and a familiar word for those who live on a mission field, and that is the word Sacrifice.
THE SACRIFICE OF MISSIONARIES
Now those of you who know me and Donnia know we do not tell sad stories nor do we talk about the sacrifices we have made and try to make you feel sorry for us in order to get support, quite the opposite can be said I do believe. But, there is sacrifice required to go and do what we are called to do and this is an article about missions and not just about our mission but missions in general.
While it is true that we live in an instant age and can receive messages and phone calls and with things like Skype and FaceTime we can both see and hear our friends and loved ones even though they are hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away. And because of the internet the world is in fact a “shrinking globe” With airplanes and automobiles we can reach our homes many times in just a few hours.
But there is still no replacement for the hug of a child or the joy of being at the graduation of a grandchild or the need to be at the bedside of a family member who may go home soon or to make a few memories around the “Thanksgiving table”. While others take those times for granted and even with a bit of disdain for having to take the time when other things might seem more desirable, Donnia and I can only hear about those special days and wish we could be a part from time to time.
No, there is nothing quite like having to say good-bye to people we love who are close to us, especially those friends and close family.
There is nothing like having that person we love in our presence.
We are so blessed, unlike those missionaries of yester year, who when they said good-bye to friends and family it may be years and perhaps for the rest of their life they would not see them again, nor could they call or send an instant message.
Matthew 19:29 (KJV) And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Missionaries I know have dedicated their whole life to one city or one country. I know of one missionary, that if they had one disciple and baptized one person, in the country they were ministering in, in a single year, it was a great success. Now if you are the type of person that only looks at the bottom line, or counts success by the masses that were saved you may not think they had done a whole lot. But what really matters here is not the great numbers or the huge campaigns, no what the bottom line is here is, did they remain faithful to the call of God.
I read a story and I have heard it told but I think it bears repeating, about an older missionary couple coming home from the mission field….
An old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning to New York to retire.
As the trip began, they discovered they were on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions.
No one paid any attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President’s entourage, with passengers trying to catch a glimpse of the great man. As the ship moved across the ocean, the old missionary said to his wife, “Something is wrong.”
“Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us.”
“Dear, you shouldn’t feel that way,” his wife said.
He replied “I can’t help it; it just doesn’t seem right.”
When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President’s arrival. No one noticed the missionary couple. They slipped off the ship, disappeared in the crowd, and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.
That night the man’s spirit broke. He said to his wife, “I can’t take this; God is not treating us fairly.” His wife replied, “Why don’t you go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?”
A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, “Dear, what happened?”
The Lord settled it with me. I told Him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put His hand on my shoulder and simply said;
“You’re not home yet.”
The greatest reward for the missionary is not here on this earth, oh yes we do get to experience a glimpse from time to time but the reward of the missionary is out of this world. In my Father’s house are many mansions, and He is preparing one for me and for you.
And that brings us to our next thought about Missions…..
THE SATISFACTION OF MISSIONARIES
Funny isn’t it that while talking about sacrifice it is an easy transition into satisfaction. I mean almost as a simultaneous thought sacrifice/satisfaction, that’s because when serving God as a missionary whether it be around the world, or in the United States or wherever the homeland of the person there is a huge amount of satisfaction as we know we are in the center of Gods will doing what we are called to do.
I remember when I was a younger man before I went to bible school or pastored a Church, missionaries would come to the church I attended and to other churches around me and bring their slide shows and dress in the attire of the country they worked in, and I might add I really looked forward to those meetings. And on the inside of me I knew that one day I was going to be a missionary, but it did make me wonder “how would I live, and would I have to spend my life in suffering and poverty on the premise that one day after a while I would have my reward, in the sweet bye and bye.
But I learned and now can say with experience, that yes there is a great deal of sacrifice but there is also a tremendous amount of reward in the future and also right now. I could not think of doing anything else, even with all the sacrifices and problems and sometimes danger. Because there is nothing like being in the center of God’s will there is nothing more satisfying than that. Think of it in the terms of food (yes, you knew I work food in here someway) But actually Jesus is the one who brought this example into the satisfaction of being in Gods will when He said “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me” really let me show you.
John 4:34-35 (NIV2011)
34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.
35 Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.
In all truth, if you feel called to missions or being a pastor or any one of the ministry rolls, don’t try to ponder how it’s going to work out or if you will be happy, honestly being in the will of God is all that matters and what it is really all about. There is a complete satisfaction that goes with the job in spite of the sacrifices and difficult times that will arise. When contemplating the call of God on your life don’t try to factor a “misery” level into it as if we have to suffer some in order to please God. No! God wants us to be fully satisfied and happy and full of joy in His service no matter what challenges my come.
THE INDIVIDUALITY OF MISSIONS
One of the things we see about Jesus is that he had a large ministry, filling some of the largest areas in his country. Just think about it we know of a least twice where he spoke and ministered to over 5000 men not including the children and women whom he also fed. (Matthew 14:21) He had a huge healing ministry, and partners who helped him and a staff that he supplied for and fed and their family’s every day, the ministry was large enough that Jesus had a treasurer.
But Jesus’ ministry was not only to the masses but we can see Him in many individual encounters as well. And I really enjoy looking at these one on one interviews Jesus had with people. Now we have talked about the woman who came to Jesus at the well and because of that encounter an entire city was changed. And then we can see Nicodemus, who came to him at night, this “Nic at Night” episode brought the questions that led to the powerful response from Jesus that “ye must be Born again” And who can forget the woman who reached out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment defying the laws that could have had her killed but because she did we see that Jesus felt that touch of faith even in a crowed so large they were pressing in on him from all sides, He still stopped for her.
You see every individual is important and He has time for all and desires that all people take time for Him, because it is not the will of God for any to perish in any part of their life.
2 Peter 3:9 (KJV)
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
In this world we live it is easy to get lost and begin to feel like we are just another number in the billions, yet Jesus is still all about the one. Something else to note about this scripture that is most interesting. This this verse brings out that God’s will doesn’t always happen. That sounds like heresy to the extreme “sovereignty of God” people, but there is no denying that is what this verse is saying. He is Lord but He doesn’t control everything. And even though God is all powerful, but He doesn’t choose to use His power in a way that denies our right to choose. It is not His will for anyone to perish, but we know many do. Why? Because of their choice, not God’s.
There are those folks who teach that nothing happens unless it is Gods will but they are totally wrong. Those who teach God allows things to happen are only correct in the sense that God gave mankind authority over this earth and over their own lives.
Yes, we need the big arena meetings and the mega Churches and the mass meetings. But the greatest part of the work is done by the Missionaries and all of us who see value in the one to one meetings with individual people.
A young man, walking along the beach at dawn, noticed an old man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Catching up with the man, the youth asked what he was doing. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun.
“But the beach goes on for miles, and there are millions of starfish,” countered the young man. “How can your effort make any difference?”
The old man looked at the starfish in his hand, and then threw it to safety in the waves. “It makes a big difference to this one,”
Don’t be caught up in the attitude of the day in which we live that “if we can’t deal completely with the problem, then we will just do nothing at all” Once, when I was pastoring I wanted to buy a church bus so I sent out letters and ask people to buy one tire or one seat, I never ask anybody to buy the whole bus and this is the way we get things done today, one person at a time.
That’s why Jesus is a personal Savior….
THE OBEDIENCE FACTOR OF MISSIONARIES
There is one outstanding fact that every Missionary that preaches the gospel of the Lord Jesus has in common, we did not call ourselves to the job. No Missionary goes to the field of his or her own will, you must be first called by the Lord. Not a mission board or a group of people in need or by a Pastor somewhere. We are called by a loving heavenly Father who has only good in store and knows exactly who the best one is to fill the need in a certain situation and He also knows the best time and at what intersection of life you need be where you’re going.
Remember the guy whose job it was on a certain day to be in a certain place holding a pitcher? Luke 22:10 timing is everything with God, at just the right time the baby cried and the basket was opened and baby Moses was found.
God still calls people, regardless of who they are and what talents they have or don’t have and it is not based on their recommendations and resume. It has been said many times but still bears true “whom God calls, God equips.” But with that call there must be obedience on the part of the one being called, because if they are not obedient they will never have the satisfying life fulfilled life and ministry they were intended by God to experience.
We can readily see example after example of people who were called by God to some type of service for Him, some followed and some did not. There is Paul on the Damascus road and the disciples, from different vocations in life from fisherman to tax collector. There was the young rich ruler who chose his wealth over the call of the master and went away sorrowfully and then as we spoke of earlier there was Moses, who tried to convince God He has chosen the wrong man for the job and of course that mighty man of valor Gideon at least that what the angel called him when he found him hiding from the enemy.
And the examples can go on and on, but one example that really shines and stands boldly is found in Isaiah – Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
One Pastor puts it like this, and I think it is well for me to state it here in this article, “Every time, a Missionary stands in our pulpit to preach the Word, or share their burden, you are seeing an answer to prayer, as well as a person who has responded in obedience”.
THE NEED OF MISSIONS
So obedience on the part of the Missionary to the call of God is wonderful, but all the obedience in the whole world would count for absolutely nothing unless there were willing and obedient people who will also catch the vision for Missions by responding both prayerfully and financially to the need of the Missionaries and not just when there is an emergency but a regular consciences of them or on a more personal level us. The local Church must be missions minded, both home missions and foreign. One man said it like this
“Any church that is not seriously involved in helping fulfill the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.” – Oswald J. Smith
We get asked all the time “is there anything you need” and the simple answer is “Yes, Money” the need of the Missionary can be many things, but think about it the Missionary living on a forging field today needs finances. When we travel it costs for taxis if we had the funds we could buy a car of our own, if we hold a seminar in another country, then we must fly there and rent a building. When administrating a new Church or school there is a cost involved and beside all that just as those who live and are able to work a paying job have to supply for electricity and water and a place to live, the Missionary on the field has the same needs only they don’t have a weekly paycheck coming in most of the time.
That is why great partners are so vital to a Missionary. So what does a great partner look like? Well here are some examples that Missionaries have given of great partners…..
Great Missions Partners:
- Let us know they received our correspondence and are praying for us. They are committed to give to missions and let us know how we can pray for them. They visit us on the field and invite us into their homes when we are on furlough.
- Are faithful—in their giving, praying, and communicating. They remember the kids on their birthdays. They make sure their missionary has personal money at Christmas.
- Are known by their love. They just believe in us and the call that God has given us. They pray for us and give as the Spirit leads them. The best partners are great lovers before they are great prayers or givers. Our best partners are individuals rather than churches.
- Understand the cost of missions and give thousands to keep us on the field so we don’t have to travel to raise money. (We prefer to be workers on the field, not professional fundraisers). We are thankful for churches who focus significant care and support on one or two missionaries, rather than spread themselves too thin over many missionaries. This makes more of an impact for the Gospel
- Remember us every month. They’re people we can count on for support. If they have to discontinue regular support, they let us know as far in advance as possible. (They don’t just stop giving without any warning or explanation.)
Now there may be some people that might say, well perhaps the good Lord should have thought about this a little more in detail. Calling people to the mission field, I mean, He should have dropped thousands of dollars in their bank account to make sure all went well and that everything gets done. Well that would have been wonderful and if He would have dropped the language in as a bonus so it did not have to be learned that would be awesome.
Yet, God does just that, through the combined efforts of churches and individuals all around the world who generously give to the work of Missions.
In reality Missions is an area where people don’t “have to give, but get to give”
I have found that many times the average pastor views his church as a local church with a missions program; while he ought to realize that if he or she is in fact pastoring a church, it is to be a global church with a mission’s purpose.
As the Missionary that is supported by churches and people like you goes, so you go as well. I know it is said often but none the less stands true, when you send us the reward is counted as well to you.
And finally I want to add one more item to this topic.
THE SAVIOR OF MISSIONS
So here is the real heart of this whole article and lesson. It’s not about money or planes or houses or all these other things, it is not even about Missionaries who see the world or churches and individuals who feel better about themselves because they support these efforts. It is first and foremost about the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
And it all goes back to the very first item motioned a “Mandate” we still have the “Great Commission” we still have a command that we go into all the World with the Good News of the Gospel. Jesus never said this is for your four and no more, so just keep it to yourself, no we were commanded to do all and occupy till he comes until the whole world has heard the Good News that a savior has come and He offers to whosoever will blessings and an abundant life not only for now, but for eternity to come.
In reading the article that this article you are reading was adapted from the author/Pastor quotes a man and I think it is fitting to place what he said here in this article again…
Charles Malik, former Lebanese ambassador to the United Nations, asked in a speech: “What has been the greatest American contribution to the rest of the world? Has it been money? Has it been food? Has it been medical skill? Has it been military might? Has it been industrial know-how?” Then he answered, “The greatest thing to come out of America has been the American missionary effort: the quiet, selfless men and women who have left the comfort and security of their homeland to bring the gospel of Christianity to less favored nations.
Satisfaction = The Great Commission Matthew 28:18-20
Will you prayerful consider becoming a Missions Partner with us today, just click on this link and now and fulfil what God has called you to do by helping send us as your hands and your voice in Peru.